Today I am talking about Trickster by Jeff Somers.
Trickster is an Urban Fantasy novel about magic in today’s society but unlike the rose coloured world of Harry Potter or Harry Dresden or Harry Houdini (wow – what is it with magicians named Harry?) Jeff’s world of magic is a tad more severe.
Magic requires blood – fresh blood.
For every spell you cast you cast you have to cut yourself for the blood, or cut somebody else. As long as fresh blood is being spilled you can cast a spell. It could use a prick of blood for a cantrip or all the blood from a person to teleport and the price just keeps on jumping. The more blood you have the stronger your spell. Lem, our hero, has one rule – never bleed anybody else for a spell. He’s in the minority with that philosophy.
Now the mages range from the all powerful Archmages, a rare breed, to the common low-level tricksters. Lem is a Trickster. He scams rich people with charm spells, uses their greed to make $1 bills look like $20s and $100, and he woos you with his looks, his charm and his magic to get food, money and secrets.
Truth is he’s barely staying afloat.
Tricksters are not good people. They are scam artist, beggars, drunks (when they can afford it) and thieves – but the mages are worse. So when Lem find a girl, bound and gagged, imprisoned in a car’s trunk, and covered with invisible rune tattoos he turns to his mentor only to find out how screwed he really is. Mika Renar, the most dangerous Archmage in the world, is preparing to use an ocean of blood to cast her dreams into reality— and Lem just got in her way.
I love urban fantasy, I blame The Dresden Files for that, and I love the wonder that could be hiding in the shadows of the streets we walk every day. But everything always seems to stay in the shadows. There is rarely any consequences when the Vampire declare war or when the Fae revolt. UF also seems to have, despite its dark atmosphere, a rosy feel to it. Everything will always work out. Jeff Somers seems to ignore both of that. When shit start to explode it takes millions of ‘normals’ with them. Jeff’s UF world is dark and gritty. It’s full of backstabbing and horrifying people and that’s before the cutting starts.
This is a brilliant book that takes a dark look at the urban mage worlds of literature and is definitely one that cannot be missed. Jeff Somer is a friend of mind, whether or not he knows about this is another issue entirely, and I’ve have the chance to sit (digitally) and talk with him about Trickster and his other series The Avery Cates Series